The Livestock Auctioneers’ Association (LAA) has reminded its members and clients that under current guidance, livestock markets should continue to operate on a business only basis, in line with the government’s Covid-19 roadmap, and following current biosecurity protocols.

As some restrictions ease within the hospitality sector in both England and Wales, the LAA has confirmed that auction mart cafes and canteens are able to resume service, at the discretion of the market operator, having until now only been able to open and operate on a take-away basis.

All other protocols, as announced on April 12, 2021 when vendors were permitted to return to markets on a business only basis, facilities allowing, will remain in place until further notice.

As of April 12, 2021, farm sales and machinery sales were also permitted to resume, under the same protocols as livestock sales.

The LAA has outlined and reiterated the following key guidelines:

  • Markets will enforce buyer and vendor restrictions to allow for social distancing. The wearing of face coverings is not a substitute for the need to maintain social distancing at all times;
  • Face coverings must be worn by everyone attending the site, within enclosed spaces – exemptions are permitted for anyone with a medical condition that allows a face covering not to be worn;
  • Markets will ensure that the highest hygiene measures and hand washing facilities are in place;
  • Markets will keep a register of those that attend their sales – contact name, address and telephone number.

It is the responsibility of the market operator to ensure Covid-19 protocols are in place at all times.

Each market’s facilities are different, and therefore it is at the discretion of the market operator as to how this is managed, with some retaining the ‘drop and go’ policy and others allowing vendors to return on a business only basis, where facilities allow.

Chris Dodds, executive secretary of the LAA explained:

“The LAA appreciates the continued support and understanding of our clients and operating member marts.

Our priorities are to protect public health while still being able to supply the food chain.

“We await announcement on the lifting of further restrictions on June 21, 2021, when, it is hoped, our marts can return to a nearer ‘normal’ operation.”

Buyers and vendors are urged to contact their local auctioneer for specific measures within individual livestock markets.